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This January brings two concerts to Rockport Music’s Shalin Liu Performance Center. On Sunday, January 19 at 3 p.m., pianist Michael Brown and cellist Nicholas Canellakis bring Soul of the Americas, a program featuring seven iconic composers from both North and South America. On January 23 at 7 p.m. Palaver Strings, Rockport Music’s Education Ensemble-in-Residence for the 2019-20 season, will perform the first of two community concerts this season. At the January 23 show, Palaver’s program follows the gradual return of light marked by the winter solstice through different musical selections.

Soul of the Americas

Soul of the Americas celebrates the rich tapestry of musical influences across the Americas. Aaron Copland’s El Salón México and George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture were directly inspired by their travels to those respective countries. Leonard Bernstein was an ardent enthusiast of Latin American music, including the music of Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos and Argentinian Alberto Ginastera. Curated by Michael Brown and Nicholas Canellakis, this program features unique combinations of piano, cello, and percussion, and will take the listener on a sizzling journey through both hemispheres.

Copland: El Salón México for Solo Piano (arr. Leonard Bernstein)
Bernstein: Three Meditations from Mass (version for cello, piano, and percussion)
Barber: Souvenirs for Piano, Four Hands, Op. 28 
Golijov: Mariel for Cello and Marimba 
Villa-Lobos: Divagação for Cello, Piano, and Drum 
– A Maré Encheu from Guia Pratico for Solo Piano 
– O Polichinelo from Prole do Bebê for Solo Piano 
Ginastera: Pampeana No. 2, Rhapsody for Cello and Piano, Op. 21
Gershwin: Cuban Overture for Piano, Four Hands and Percussion (Four Hands version)

Tickets range from $36 to $42. Come early for a pre-concert talk with Michael Brown & Nicholas Canellakis, 2 p.m.

Michael Brown, piano
Described as “one of the most refined of all pianist-composers” (International Piano), Michael Brown’s unique artistry is reflected in his creative approach to programming, which often interweaves the classics and his own compositions. From 2017-2019, Brown was Composer and Artist-in-Residence at the New Haven Symphony, which premiered his newly commissioned symphony and received a 2018 Copland House Residency Award. He earned dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano and composition from The Juilliard School.  

Nicholas Canellakis, cello
Hailed by The New York Times for his playing being “impassioned … the audience seduced by Mr. Canellakis’s rich, alluring tone,” Nicholas Canellakis has become one of the most sought-after and innovative cellists of his generation. Currently Artist-in-Residence with New Haven Symphony, Canellakis performs throughout the US, Europe and Asia as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as his long-time duo collaborator pianist-composer Michael Brown. He has also been in residence at Carnegie Hall as a member of Ensemble Connect.

Orion Weiss, piano
One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation, pianist Orion Weiss has performed with numerous major American orchestras. In addition to performing as a soloist with the leading orchestras in the nation, Weiss performs regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician.  Named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in 2010, in the summer of 2011 Weiss made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood as a last-minute replacement for Leon Fleisher.

Ian David Rosenbaum, percussion
Praised for his “excellent” and “precisely attuned” performances by the New York Times, percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum has developed a musical breadth far beyond his years. Rosenbaum joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program in 2012 as only the second percussionist they have selected in their history. 

Palaver Strings

On Thursday, January 23 at 7 p.m., Palaver Strings brings a program entitled “On the Nature of Daylight.” This concert explores the gradual return of light marked by the winter solstice. Through thin sunbeams, quiet snowfall, and frosted windows, there is warmth and comfort in the measured lengthening of daylight. The program opens with Winter from Vivaldi’s beloved Four Seasons and culminates with Mendelssohn’s radiant Octet. With soaring melodies and warm, youthful brilliance, the octet encapsulates the promise of spring.  Palaver Strings is a Maine-based musician-led string ensemble and nonprofit organization founded in 2014. Now in its sixth season, Palaver has established itself as a forward-thinking ensemble whose mission is rooted in community and creative programming.

Vivaldi: Winter from Four Seasons (Nicholas Kitchen/first violin of Borromeo Quartet)
Max Richter: On the Nature of Daylight
Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat Major
Widor: Toccata for Organ (arr. by Palaver member Jesse MacDonald)

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.